TERRY COOPER insists Forest Green’s rise to the Football League ranks as his son Mark’s greatest and most-testing achievement in management.

Cooper senior, who had an illustrious playing career with Leeds United and England, plus managerial stints at Birmingham City, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and Exeter City, claimed dressing-room unrest was one of the problems his son encountered at Forest Green.

“There were lots of shenanigans going on in the background that the supporters didn’t know about - five or six were creating havoc and said they didn’t want to play for Forest Green,” claimed Terry Cooper. “Mark had the guts to take the bull by the horns, and this has been his best achievement in what has been his toughest season managing a group of players.”

At the play-off final Cooper senior watched nervously from the Royal Box as his son Mark worked in the technical area and grandson Charlie played on the pitch.

He added: “I can’t say I enjoyed the day, but I thought they would win and in the end I couldn’t stop smiling.”

Cooper believes Forest Green will prosper in the English Football League Division Two.

“The best chance of going up I believe is in the first season,” he claimed. “I don’t think they need to make many changes, and the coaching of Mark and Scott Lindsey will only improve them.”

And Cooper thinks his son only needs to add a few wise heads to the squad for next season.

He said: “The boy Collins is experienced and I think he will need one or two more. I think Manny Monthe can be anything he wants, he is still as green as grass, but just minor things for him, and I think the same goes for Shamir Mullings and Omar Bugiel, who have both shown flashes of potential.”

Cooper feels the key partnership of the season was the one between the manager and the chairman.

Cooper said: “I had some good chairman and some bad ones in my career. Mark has really enjoyed working with Dale Vince and he puts his trust in Mark.”

And on Vince’s Premier League dream, Cooper added: “Why can’t you be ambitious? Fair play to him.”